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August 11, 2017 3:08 pm

Trio of Top Trump Administration Officials, Including Kushner, to Return Soon to Middle East as Part of Ongoing Bid to Revive Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Jared Kushner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at a June 2017 meeting in Jerusalem. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO.

A trio of top Trump administration officials — including the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner — will soon travel to the Middle East as part of an ongoing effort to revive the long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process, a White House official said on Friday.

The president “believes that the restoration of calm and the stabilized situation in Jerusalem after the recent crisis on the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif has created an opportunity to continue discussions and the pursuit of peace that began early in his administration,” the official stated.

The delegation — which will include Kushner, Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy Dina Powell — will meet with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Egypt to talk about “how best to support the peace effort,” the official continued.

“The president has asked that these discussions focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combating extremism, the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there, strengthening our relations with regional partners and the economic steps that can be taken to both now and after a peace deal is signed to ensure security, stability and prosperity for the region,” the official added.

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“While the regional talks will play an important role, the president reaffirms that peace between Israelis and Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will continue working closely with the parties to make progress towards that goal,” the official emphasized.

The president, according to the official, “remains optimistic that peace is possible,” but also acknowledges that achieving an agreement will be “difficult.”

“To enhance the chances for peace, all parties need to engage in creating an environment conducive to peace-making while affording the negotiators and facilitators the time and space they need to reach a deal,” the official concluded.

Kushner last traveled to the Middle East in June and Greenblatt has shuttled back and forth several times to the region in recent months. The president visited Jerusalem and Bethlehem in May and has expressed on numerous occasions a desire to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, which he has called “the ultimate deal.”

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